Football Blog

2017 Week 5: Helix Defender Near Top of List

Rick : September 25, 2017 10:48 am : Football

Opinions are like a certain area of the anatomy.  Most of us have one.

The opinion of, which maintains a running list of  who’s who in high school football and who is being recruited by whom, is that the following table is indicative of the probable 10 best players in the San Diego Section.

The table reflects‘s individual ranking for California players and is updated daily.

Helix’s Isaac Taylor-Stuart is considered the No. 4 player in the state, behind only three, five-star wide  receivers, Amron-Ra St. Brown, Santa Ana Mater Dei; Devon Williams, Lancaster Antelope Valley, and Jalen Hall, Long Beach Poly.

Other rating services will differ.

Rank Name Pos. School Stars
4 Isaac Taylor-Stuart DB Helix ****
17 Jack Tuttle QB Mission Hills ****
41 Kyle Phillips WR San Marcos ***
45 Chris Brown RB El Camino ***
54 JR Justice Athlete St. Augustine ***
119 Donovan Laie Tackle Oceanside ***
120 Rocky Katoanga OLB El Camino ***
124 William Dunkle Tackle Eastlake ***
140 Chris Olave WR San Marcos ***
152 Rashad Scott WR Helix ***

A FEW AT 5-0

At the regular season’s halfway juncture there are six teams with 5-0 records and eight with 4-0 records.

Three City League teams are on a collision course.  Kearny and Crawford are 5-0 and San Diego is 4-0.

The Komets, overlooked by us last week, are off to their best start since 1978.  Crawford was 5-0 as recently as 2013. San Diego is traversing ground not covered since the 5-0 team of  2011.

San Diego is favored this week as it opens league play against visiting Clairemont (2-3). Crawford is idle and will prepare for tough University City (4-1) at Hoover the following week.  Kearny also is off and awaits Coronado (1-3)  at home next week.

Other 5-0 teams are Mission Hills, San Marcos, Ramona, and La Costa Canyon.

Clubs with 4-0 records:  Calvin Christian, Christian, El Centro Central, El Centro Southwest, Madison, Mira Mesa, The Bishop’s.


La Costa Canyon’s Karson Lippert, football player or track man?

He’s taken the field by storm in each.

Last week the 165-pound junior rushed for 312 yards in 20 carries ad scored on runs 80, 82, and 90 yards as the suddenly lethal Mavericks ran past Carlsbad, 36-21.

Lippert caught everyone’s attention in June at the state meet in Clovis, finishing a surprising and scorching second in the 400 meters in :46.91, second fastest in area history.

La Costa Canyon is off to its best start since 2009 but faces the meat of its schedule the next three weeks against Avocado League toughies El Camino, Mission Hills, and San Marcos.


Mission Hills and Madison continue to make incremental gains in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports rankings.

The Grizzlies, No. 1 in San Diego, rose from 18th to 17th on Cal-Hi‘s state list.  Madison moved from 26th to 25th, and Helix dropped from 30th to 31st.

San Marcos crashed the top 50 at 48th and La Costa Canyon got some “on-the-bubble” cred.

The Union-Tribune Week 5 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (23) 5-0 274 1
2. Madison (4) 4-0 241 2
3. Helix (2) 3-1 239 3
4. San Marcos 5-0 193 4
5. La Costa Canyon 5-0 137 8
6. Ramona 5-0 134 7
7. The Bishop’s 5-0 126 6
8. Lincoln 4-1 57 10
9. El Camino 3-2 52 5
10. Eastlake 4-1 42 NR

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Carlsbad (3-2, 14 points), Torrey  Pines (3-2, 13), Christian (4-0, 13),  Valley Center (4-1, 2), Mira Mesa (4-0, 1), Point Loma (3-2, 1), St. Augustine (2-3, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.


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1947-48: McColl’s Haul

Rick : September 24, 2017 6:26 pm : Football

Bill McColl was working on the second leg of a football-basketball-baseball “triple crown.”

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 200-pounder was bound for  an all-America career at Stanford University and an eight-season stint as an end with the Chicago Bears of the NFL, followed by a post-athletic career as an orthopedic surgeon that included three years as a missionary doctor in Korea.

But first things first.

McColl, a strapping 200-pounder, moved easily with or without ball.

McColl made three all-Southern California teams, in football, basketball, and baseball, and he managed to help coach Raleigh Holt’s track team as a high jumper and shot putter when not crushing high school fastballs offered by Coast League pitchers in the spring.

McColl is remembered most for his football achievements but he was the most important figure in the Cardinals’ postwar, 57-23 run and one of the leading scorers in Southern California this season as the Cardinals posted a 20-8 record.

McColl scored 398 points for a 14.2 average, outstanding for the era, and he held the school record until 1957-58, when Norris Greenwood scored 446 points as field goal percentage was improving everywhere and the game was evolving.


The first annual Southern California Invitational Basketball Tournament, better known as the Kiwanis Tournament, sponsored by local clubs of that name, became part of the area basketball scene.

Sixteen teams, including Northern visitors Compton, Long Beach Wilson Redondo Beach Redondo, Inglewood, and Santa Monica, participated.

McColl set the tone for Hoover with 24 points in a 45-25, opening-round victory over La Jolla and the Cardinals went on to the championship, defeating St. Augustine, 41-33, Wilson, 46-42, and San Diego, 36-26.

Danny Newport’s 17 points helped San Diego defeat Compton, 39-37, in overtime and force the all-local finals.

Santa Monica routed Kearny, 75-16, for the most team points, and Sweetwater’s Fred Stafford went McColl one better with 25 points in a 54-21 rout of Kearny.

The victories were the high point of the season for the Cardinals and San Diego.

Hoover was runner-up to Compton in Coast League play with a 6-2 record.  San Diego, 16-9 overall, fell to 3-5 in the league.

San Diego defeated Hoover, 39-34, for third place in the Western States tournament at Compton College.  Compton was a 40-37 winner over Whittier for the championship.

The Tarbabes were eliminated in the semifinal round of the Southern Section playoffs by Ventura, 45-38.  Whittier edged Ventura, 45-36, for the title.

Hoover’s season ended when it was upset by Ontario Chaffey, 29-19, in the first round of the Beverly Hills Tournament.

All-Western States Tournament included San Diego’s Ernie Smith (left) and Danny Newport (fifth from left) and Hoover’s Bill McColl (third from left). Courtesy, John Dahlem.


It happened often in basketball around the middle of January when midterm graduation took place.

Sweetwater, consolation bracket champion by virtue of a 51-42 win over La Jolla in the Kiwanis, jumped to a 4-0 start in the Metropolitan League.

But standouts Fred Stafford and Wylie Huffman were lost to graduation and the Red Devils, under first-year coach Bill (Red) Burrows, flattened out to 5-3 as Coronado raced to the title with a 7-1 record.

Burrows, who had coached football and track at Mountain Empire in 1946, quickly learned the vicissitudes of basketball.  The Red Devils dropped their next game after Stafford’s and Huffman’s departures, 36-32 in overtime to Point Loma.

Coronado slipped into first place on the same day with a 31-27, overtime win against La Jolla.


There were no small schools playoffs, so Coronado and San Dieguito, the Southern Prep League champion, were slotted into a 16-team major division tournament.

The Islanders (13-7) bowed to El Centro Central, 30-26, in the second round. San Dieguito (12-11) fell to Whittier, the eventual champion, 53-26.


Hoover converted 16 of 32 shots from the field to Compton’s 11 of 32 and, led by McColl’s 18 points, earned a Coast League split with the champion Tarbabes, 38-31. 


Basketball had evolved into a dynamic, modern game since Dr. John Naismith found use for a spheroid and a couple peach baskets in 1891.

Catholic Tournament found more roomy environs at Olympic Auditorium.

But tiny gyms continued to be a part of the fabric and romance of the sport.  None apparently more tiny than Los Angeles’ Mt. Carmel High.

That’s where St. Augustine’s traveling Saints were participants in an almost comic situation in the Southland Catholic postseason tournament.

The Saints were members of the league in football but independents in basketball, although they played many of their games against league entries.

St. Augustine trailed Los Angeles Cathedral, 35-34, as the clock wound down in a first-round game.

The Saints’ Julie Zolezzi launched an arching, half-court set shot over a Phantoms defender in the final second of play.

Zolezzi’s shot struck an overhead rafter, recharted its trajectory, and found the basket, swishing through.

Saints win, 37-36?

The game referee disallowed the basket in what The San Diego Union described as a “touchy” decision.

St. Augustine recovered to defeat Santa Monica St. Monica’s, 44-21, to reach the consolation bracket finals, and then lost to Long Beach St. Anthony, 60-45.

Lou Kuslo led the Saints’ offense.

The last two games were conducted without incident at a more expansive venue, the 10,000-seat Olympic Auditorium wrestling-boxing emporium.

The Saints concluded a 10-11 season, with Lou Kuslo their leading scorer with 230 points in 20 games, 11.5 average.


San Diego canceled a December game with San Bernardino because the team wanted to join other students in going to Los Angeles to watch the Hilltoppers’ CIF football championship contest with Santa Monica.


Grossmont players voted to reverse their 41-39, three-overtime victory over Kearny and the Komets were declared 36-35 winners, as announced by Grossmont principal Lewis Smith.

Game officials Art Stone and Ed Ruffa did not know the rules of overtime.

Kearny scored a free throw near the end of the first extra session of three minutes and thought it was a 36-35 winner on its home court, the Linda Vista Community Center.

Ruffa and Stone, however, ruled that a game could not be won in overtime by one point.

Family relocation deprived Cannon of possible scoring title.

That was the officials’ first error and it was a whopper.

A second overtime was played, ending in a deadlock at 39.

Grossmont scored first in the third, “sudden death” extra session and went home with an apparent, 41-39 win.

Ruffa and Stone had goofed again when they allowed the third overtime.

Rules were that the second overtime should have been sudden death. Grossmont would have been a 38-36 “winner”.

Kudos to Grossmont.  Sportsmanship won out.


After much discussion, Grossmont was essentially ousted from the Metropolitan League, effective at the end of the school year, and would be joining Coast League in 1948-49.

Metro schools wanted no part of the Foothillers, with their huge enrollment (more than 2,000 to others’ about 500) advantage, their domination in the postwar era and the unwieldy, nine teams  of the existing league.

Several meetings and proposals took place from Jan. 14, 1948, until a decision was reached on Feb. 7:

–A Southern Section committee initially recommended that Grossmont leave the Metro after other league school complained.

–Grossmont  reportedly rejected the CIF proposal and suggested a 10-team Metro of two divisions, divided by enrollment. Division winners would meet in a one-game playoff to determine a champion.

–Since there were nine teams, a 10th  “Team X”, would have to be selected at the league meeting in February.  A  subcommittee was formed to determine the feasibility of San Dieguito’s or St. Augustine’s becoming members.

–Grossmont honchos finally agreed to the Southern Section recommendation/demand and said bon voyage to the Metro and would join the Coast League.

The Foothillers would be part of the old, once-powerful Coast until San Diego schools formed the City Prep League in 1950.

–Grossmont was in the CPL until returning to the Metro in 1954 and finally became part of the new Grossmont circuit in 1961.


The Midway Drive-In Theater on West Point Loma Boulevard celebrated its one-year anniversary on March 4, 1948.

The Midway, one of the earliest outdoor venues in the United States, drew more than 500,000 customers, according to manager Robert Shure.

Some pedestrian “customers” could watch from the fencing outside the theater, speakers provided by management.


Wally Piekarski, all of 5 feet, 5 inches, scored 91 points in Chicago Tilden Technical’s 122-22 victory over Paul Dunbar High.


Hoover’s was 4-1 against San Diego…the teams played a nonleague game, a Kiwanis Tournament encounter, another in the Western States tournament, and two Coast League contests…Coronado did not enter the Kiwanis Tournament, instead scheduling a squad from the navy’s USS El Dorado which whipped the Islanders, 54-23… More than 1,400 persons were on hand as Grossmont defeated Point Loma, 35-32, in a Point Loma home game at San Diego High…the Pointers’ expansive, 1,800-seat venue, with a balcony,  would not open until the next season…more than 1,500 showed up at San Diego the following evening as Hoover, behind Bill McColl’s 19 points, defeated the Hilltoppers, 32-23…future San Diego coaching legends Les Cassie (Hoover) and Duane Maley (San Diego) matched wits in the B game, won by Hoover, 32-30…Charles Cannon of Grossmont led the Metropolitan League in  scoring through six games with a 13.1 average but was denied a chance to win the title when he moved back to Midwest with his family with two games remaining…Sweetwater’s Lester Stephens, one of four to pass Cannon, won the title with a 11.9 average, 95 points in 8 games…San Diego defeated Coronado, 17-16, to win Class C and Coronado topped Hoover, 11-10, in Class D in the fifth annual Coronado Lightweight tournament…football-track star Ernie Smith of San Diego also could hoop, moving into the Hillers’ starting lineup immediately after the football finals…Smith was the Cavers’ single-game high leader when he scored 23 points in a 40-34 win over Pasadena Muir…

San Diego’s Ernie Smith contests rebound by Hoover’s Don Metzler.

Hilbert Crosthwaite, with forward Neal Packer, posted 14-5 record in his first season as coach at Point Loma.

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2017 Week 4: U. City, Mira Mesa Enjoying Ride

Rick : September 18, 2017 4:09 pm : Football

How significant is 4-0?

Depends on your perspective.

Nice, but, hey, we’re used to being there, would be the reaction from Mission Hills, Calexico Vincent Memorial, Christian, Crawford, El Centro Southwest, San Marcos, and Calvin Christian.

All of those teams have reached the above juncture at least once since 2013.

Madison, La Costa Canyon, and El Centro Central have reason to feel more than nice.


No, the Warhawks, despite winning state championships in ’12 and ’16, haven’t been 4-0 since 2011. La Costa Canyon last was 4-0 in 2009 and El Centro Central in 2008.

Which leaves two others from this eclectic group of 14. They wouldn’t know 4-0 from a leather football.

None of the 2017 University City or Mira Mesa players were around when their schools were unbeaten and untied at this point.

For U. City it hasn’t  happened since 1992, when the Steve Vokojevich-coached Centurions finished with a 9-2 record, best in school history.

For Mira Mesa it was 1997, when the Marauders were 8-4 in Gary Blevins’ second season as head coach.

University City was 60-151-3 (.287) under seven different coaches from 1993 until 2014, when Charles James, now trying to rejuvenate San Diego High, was 7-5.  The Centurions are 19-9 since 2015 under Ryan Price.


Blevins, in his 22nd season, is only the second head coach at Mira Mesa.

Brad Griffith ran the program from its start-up in 1977 until he retired after the 1994 season.

Try finding another of the 90-odd teams playing football in the San Diego Section with similar stability.

Over 196 games during Griffith’s 18 seasons, the Marauders  compiled a 112-76-2 (.577) record, won two league championships, appeared in one San Diego Section title game, and got to the playoff semifinals four times.

Blevins reached game 196 in his 16th season in 2010 and was 120-73-3 (.620), had won or tied for 5 league titles and reached the semis five times and the championship game once.

Mira Mesa is only 28-39-1 since 2011 and their unbeaten start will be facing stiffer challenges, beginning this week against Steele Canyon, followed by Morse and Western League rivals Point Loma, Cathedral, St. Augustine, and Madison, opponents with a combined 11-8 record.

University City is not faced with such a daunting challenge as it prepares for City League play. Crawford, in Week 6, is the most formidable. Combined, Centurion opponents, also including Serra, Hoover, Patrick Henry, and La Jolla are 8-11.

The Union-Tribune Week 4 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (22) 3-0 274 1
2. Madison (4) 4-0 249 2
3. Helix (2) 2-1 242 3
4. San Marcos 4-0 183 4
5. El Camino 3-1 146 7
6. Bishop’s 3-0 92 8
7. Ramona 4-0 89 NR
8. La Costa Canyon 4-0 71 NR
9. Carlsbad 3-1 62 5
10. Lincoln 3-1 53 10

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Eastlake (3-1, 36 points), Torrey  Pines (2-2, 30), Christian (4-0, 10),  St. Augustine (2-2, 5), Oceanside (2-2, 1), Cathedral (1-3, 1), Olympian (3-1, 1), Point Loma (2-2, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul , East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

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2017 Week 3:  Cavers Finding It Fun Again

Rick : September 11, 2017 1:15 pm : Football

Baby steps to others are leaps and bounds at San Diego High.

Save for a 13-8-2 record by the Keir Kimbrough-coached squads in 2010 and 2011, the Cavers have endured stretches of apathy and losses that extend into the misty past.

San Diego is 32-109-3 since 2002 and have had 12 winning seasons in the last 48, dating to 1970.

Shan Deniston’s 1974 club, led by the great running back, Michael Hayes, was 6-3 and tied for the Western League championship with Clairemont.

The Cavers have not finished that high since.

Which gives rise to their 2-0 start this season under coach Charles James, who took over the downtrodden program and was recipient of several kicks to the pelvic region in the 1-9 and 2-8 seasons of 2015 and ’16.


San Diego has scored 82 points in 28-7 and 54-7 wins over San Diego Southwest and Francis Parker.

Such offensive fireworks haven’t been witnessed since…better take a seat…since the heyday of legendary Duane Maley and the fearsome Cavemen of the 1950s.

Maley’s 1958 squad scored 84 points in its first two games, defeating Kearny, 25-0, and La Jolla, 59-0.

The 82 points in the first two games of the 2017 team have been bettered in only four other seasons by the squads originally known as the Hilltoppers, in 1945, 1925, 1920, and 1919.

The Cavers face 2-1 Montgomery this week in what looks like an even matchup, one more challenging than the first two.

Whatever lies in store for the Cavers and James, who has roots at University City and Morse, it’s still a nice way to start the season.


Parris Pisiona, 12-12 since 2015, is out at El Cajon Valley.  He was replaced by the school’s vice principal before a 32-21 win over Clairemont.

The mysteries surrounding the tenures of Jerry Ralph at El Camino and Hans Graham at Castle Park drag on as the coaches remain in limbo.

Neither Ralph nor Graham has coached a game this year.


Beat Casteel High of Phoenix-area Queen Creek this week and Monte Vista coach Ron Hamamoto will tie Helix’ Jim Arnaiz for seventh place among all-time County coaches with 213 victories…Arnaiz held sway at Helix for 27 seasons, 1973-99…Hamamoto, beginning in 1985,  spent 11 years at University, 11 at Rancho Bernardo, 4 at Lincoln, and is in his sixth season with the Monarchs…Mission Hills’ Chris Hauser, who started at Vista in 2000, won his 144th game last week over Desert Hills of St. George, Utah, and is tied with Escondido’s legendary Bob (Chick) Embrey for 18th…San Ysidro, 3-0 for the first time since the school opened in 2004, steps up in competition at Calexico Vincent Memorial, also 3-0 and 18-7 under David Wong since 2015…Damon Baldwin’s Ramona Bulldogs will try to become 4-0 for the first time since 2014 when they begin Palomar League play against visiting Rancho Bernardo….

The Union-Tribune Week 3 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (22) 2-0 274 2
2. Madison (4) 3-0 247 3
3. Helix (2) 1-1 244 1
4. San Marcos 3-0 171 6
5. Carlsbad 3-0 153 7
6. Torrey Pines 2-1 101 9
7. El Camino 2-1 76 4
8. The Bishop’s 3-0 71 10
9. Cathedral 1-2 50 NR
10. Lincoln 2-1 49 5

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Ramona (3-0, 44 points), La Costa Canyon (3-0, 44), Oceanside (2-1, 9) St. Augustine (1-2, 9), Christian (3-0, 4), Eastlake (2-1, 3), Grossmont (2-1, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul , East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

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2017 Week 2: Overtime, Then and Now

Rick : September 4, 2017 2:09 pm : Football

Palm Springs defeated Scripps Ranch, 42-35, in two overtimes and Army-Navy’s topped Perris Military, 21-20, in one overtime last week.

Both of those game results presumably were more easily reached than the first in 1976.

That was the year of imposition of the new “California Tie-Breaker”.

As noted by Steve Brand, The San Diego Union representative who covered the game:

“History-making events are supposed to be heralded with sounding trumpets and helium-filled balloons.”

But a 6-6, semifinals playoff tie between Morse and El Camino resulted in “disappointment and confusion,” all because of the new rule, wrote Brand.

The young scribe, on a morning newspaper deadline, was not a happy camper.

Brand, as one deadline after another was missed, described “a twenty-minute discussion between officials, coaches, players, and statisticians over first downs, penetrations inside the 20-yard line, and a mysterious stopping of the clock just before the game ended.”

The teams had tied with 7 first downs each and both had made two penetrations inside their opponent’s 20-yard line.  Those represented the first two elements of the new system.

Play resumed when the third tie-breaker kicked in.  Each team was given four plays from the 50-yard line.

Morse lost the coin toss and had first possession.

The Tigers had a net of minus two yards after four plays that included a 15-yard penalty. El Camino took over and essentially fell on the ball four consecutive plays, according to Brand.

The Wildcats were declared winners but the game went into the books as a tie.

Brand noted that the game was played at Vista, a technically neutral site, but the clock “inadvertantly” stopped as time was running out and El Camino close to what would be an eighth and tie-breaking first

What happens if there still is a deadlock after each team has had three possessions of the ball in overtime?

A touchdown and two-point conversion can send everyone home, as long as the other team doesn’t match.

There is no time limit and no finite number of overtime periods.


Earth to San Diego’s usually elite teams:  Give certain Orange County squads a wide berth.

But if you’re Helix, or Cathedral, or Mission Hills, you’re not afraid of challenges, even if the results haven’t always been positive.

Cathedral, the defending state Division 1AA champion, ran afoul of the Trinity League’s Orange Lutheran last week in one of the Honor Bowl games.

The 37-0 loss was the Dons’ most decisive since a 40-14 defeat by another Trinity team, Rancho Santa Margarita, in 2015.

Helix had Santa Margarita neighbor Mission Viejo of the South Coast League on the ropes but a fumble with two minutes left opened a door through which the host Diablos scored a 32-28, Southern California playoff victory in 2015.

Mission Hills, which dropped a 35-21 decision to Mission Viejo in 2012 and now is No. 1 in the weekly San Diego Union-Tribune poll, is one of the handful of San Diego Section teams that annually schedule major intersectional opponents.

The Grizzlies have gotten off seemingly easy this season, defeating Paramount of the Southern Section, 41-14, in their opener and slamming Desert Hills from St. George, Utah, 42-7, last week.

Cathedral is ninth in the Union-Tribune voting after its second consecutive loss (Loomis Del Oro, a stout Sacramento area entry, won, 22-13, in Week 1) and Helix dropped from first to third when it was upended, 23-6, by Lancaster Paraclete in the Honor Bowl.


Mission Hills rose from 41st to 23rd and Madison  from 35th to 27th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports’ poll…Helix dropped from 10th to 29th and Cathedral, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines are on the bubble…all six Trinity League teams are in the top 25 and Orange Lutheran rose from 25th to 14th…Lancaster Paraclete moved from 32nd to 21st.

The Union-Tribune Week 2 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (20) 2-0 272 2
2. Madison (4) 2-0 234 3
3. Helix (4) 1-1 231 1
4. El Camino 2-0 200 5
5. Lincoln 2-0 154 7
6. San Marcos 2-0 123 8
7. Carlsbad 2-0 83 NR
8. St. Augustine 1-1 65 4
9. Torrey Pines 1-1 55 9
10. The Bishop’s 2-0 54 NR

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Cathedral (0-2, 49 points), Oceanside (1-1, 16) Eastlake (2-0, 13), Ramona (2-0, 10), Valley Center (2-0, 10), La Costa Canyon (2-0, 7).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul , East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

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2017 Week 1:  Helix Up, Cathedral Down, Mission Hills Cruises

Rick : August 28, 2017 4:32 pm : Football

Too early for trends, but Cathedral’s defending state 1AA champion has some catching up to do and Helix is positioning itself to make a run such as the Dons’ in 2016.

The Highlanders, preseason ranked 12th in Cal-Hi Sports’ overview, eased to a 35-0 victory over Utah’s No. 15 West Herriman, and moved up to 10th in this week’s poll.

The competition revs a notch for the Scots this week, when they meet Lancaster Paraclete in an Honor Bowl game at Cathedral.

The Spirits, from Southern California’s Antelope Valley, 70 miles North of Los Angeles and 87 miles Southeast of Bakersfield, were an unknown quantity when they first faced a San Diego team in 2016.

Paraclete, 12-4, ushered undefeated and 13-0 Mater Dei out of the Southern California playoffs, 34-18, won the state D-III championship, and opened last week with a 48-24 win over Phelan Serrano.

Cathedral, Cal-Hi’s preseason No. 14, dropped to 22 this week after visiting Loomis Del Oro, near where the Dons topped Stockton St. Mary’s, 38-35, in Sacramento in the state final in 2016.

The Dons were tied, 12-12, in the third quarter but Del Oro, 13-3 a year ago, preseason ranked fifth in the Sacramento area, pulled away to a 22-12 victory.

Cathedral gets back into the fray this week in another Honor Bowl game at home against Trinity League toughie Orange Lutheran, which defeated La Mirada, 11-3 a year ago, 35-13 last week.

Mission Hills opened with a 41-14 yawner at Paramount and gets Utah’s St. George Desert Hills this week.


Grossmont was surprised, 22-13, by The Bishop’s and there was an online report that Foothillers coaches and players suffered from intestinal flareups after the team meal…coach Tom Karlo is 5-1 in openers at Grossmont and was 7-0 from 2005-11 at Mount Miguel…Crawford improved to 26-15 in its occasional rivalry that dates to 1958 with neighboring Hoover…the schools are only a mile and a half apart in East San Diego, but the Colts’ 31-0 victory was in their first meeting with Hoover since 2010 and the first over the Cardinals since 2003…Carlsbad’s 49-0 beatdown of Del Norte was the Lancers’ most one-sided in an opening game since 54-0 over Hoover in 1980…football is not catching on at Del Norte…the Nighthawks are 27-50 all-time since 2010…Bonita Vista’s 39-7 loss to Poway marked the Barons’ poorest first-game effort in school history going back to 1967…Christian’s 60-38 win at Hurricane, Utah, was the Patriots’ seventh opener in a row without a loss and made coach Matt Oliver 12-1-1 in first games…Manuel Diaz, Sr., was 1-5 in openers at Clairemont from 1997-02…son Manuel, Jr., won the first game of his head coaching career, leading Clairemont to a 34-0 win over Orange Glen…what a difference year makes:  San Ysidro whacked Coronado, 41-14, after losing to the Islanders, 39-12 in 2016…Imperial beat Yuma Cibola of Arizona, 55-14, after losing to the same team,  33-27 last season…St. Augustine, despite a 51-12 victory over North Las Vegas Canyon Springs, dropped from 22 to 23 in Cal-Hi rankings.

The Union-Tribune Week 1 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Helix (28) 1-0 258 1
2. Mission Hills 1-0 238 2
3. Madison 1-0 209 4
4. St. Augustine 1-0 200 5
5. Cathedral 0-1 150 3
6. El Camino 1-0 121 8
7. Lincoln 1-0 86 9
8. San Marcos 1-0 74 10
9. Torrey Pines 0-1 45 6
10. Oceanside 0-1 45 7

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  The Bishop’s (1-0, 36 points), Eastlake (1-0, 15) Ramona (1-0, 11), Carlsbad (1-0, 10), Valley Center (1-0, 6), Poway (1-0, 3), San Pasqual (1-0, 2), La Costa Canyon, 1-0), Valhalla, 1-0) 1 point each.

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul , East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

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2017 Week 0: Helix starts off as No. 1

Rick : August 22, 2017 8:39 am : Football

Enriched by the transfer from St. Augustine of running back-defensive back Isaac Taylor Stuart (a four- or five star recruit, according to  grading services), coach Robbie Owens’ Helix Highlanders begin the season as the No. 1 team in the San Diego Section, according to the 28-member Union-Tribune voting panel.

The Scots, 10-3 a year ago, received 19 first-place votes.  Cathedral, defending state D-1AA champion,  received seven, and Mission Hills and Lincoln one each.

Helix is 12th in Cal-Hi Sports‘ preseason, California top 50 poll.

Cathedral, 14, and St. Augustine, 22, are the other San Diego Section teams in Cal-Hi‘s first 25.  Madison is 36th, Mission Hills, 43rd, and Torrey Pines is on the bubble.

The state CIF has 1,587 schools, although many do not field teams..  The internet site Max Preps  lists 94 schools fielding teams of the 127 dues-paying members in the San Diego Section.


Rank Team 2016 Points 2016 Final
1. Helix (19) 10-3 258 3
2. Mission Hills (1) 7-5 214 9
3. Cathedral (7) 15-0 204 1
4. Madison 13-2 198 2
5. St. Augustine 10-3 178 6
6. Torrey Pines 8-3 88 8
7. Oceanside 8-3 76 NR
8. El Camino 3-8 63 NR
9. Lincoln (1) 7-5 58 NR
10. San Marcos 7-5 49 NR

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  The Bishop’s (14-1, 24 points), Point Loma (5-7, 22), Mater Dei (13-1, 15), Rancho Bernardo (11-1,15), Grossmont (9-2, 14), Carlsbad (4-8, 13), La Costa Canyon (6-6, 13), Eastlake (2-9, 8), Olympian (8-5. 6), Valley Center (10-2, 5), Ramona (5-6, 2), Valhalla (8-3, 1).

Voters: (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials) John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul , East County; Ramon Scott, East County; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown,; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

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2017: Dave Grayson, Legendary Caver, Hornet

Rick : August 2, 2017 4:28 pm : Football, Other, Track & Field

David Grayson, who retired before the 1971 NFL season as one of the pro game’s all-time defensive backs, passed away recently at age 78.

Grayson intercepted 48 passes from 1961-70 in the American Football League and NFL as a member of the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders.

The 5-foot, 10-inch, 187-pounder with sprinter speed  was named to the all-time all-AFL team, the high point of a great career that began in the San Diego City Prep League.

Grayson was a starting defensive back and played fullback on the 11-0-1, 1955 San Diego High team that won the Southern California championship and was acclaimed the national high school team of the year.

Grayson (30) was co-captain of the 1960 Oregon Ducks. Teammate Len Burnett is  82 in second row, Cleveland Jones is 25 in second row, and Roscoe Cook is 98 in fourth row.  All played at San Diego High or Lincoln.

Grayson and teammate Luther Hayes transferred to Lincoln after their junior football seasons at San Diego and they put the fledgling program of coach Walt Harvey’s on the map the following year.

Lincoln posted a 5-2-1 record in 1956 and came within a few feet of tying San Diego and Hoover for first place in the City Prep League.

Grayson’s  45-yard pass interception return set up one touchdown in the season-ending, 26-19 loss to San Diego and his 36-yard option pass to a diving Leonard Burnett put the Hornets on San Diego’s eight-yard line with time running out in the fourth quarter.

Hayes gained five yards but then was stopped short of the goal line  as the game ended.

“I should have given the ball to Grayson,” Harvey said of the last play years later.

The coach’s reasoning was that the quicker Grayson, shorter and more compact than the lanky Hayes, would have been able to find space in the Cavers’ defensive line and get the Hornets into position to tie the favored Cavemen.

The 170-pound Grayson made the all-City League team on offense and was one of the premier sprinters in the County during the spring track season with a best time of 10 seconds in the 100-yard dash.

Grayson and Lincoln also posted a time of 1:29.2 in the 880-yard relay and qualified for the CIF Southern Section finals.

Grayson was a member of San Diego Junior College’s 1957 Metropolitan Conference football championship squad and teamed with Roscoe Cook, Bobby Staten, and Fred Lucas as the Knights set a national JC record of 1:25.6 in the 880-yard relay in 1958 at the West Coast Relays in Fresno.

Grayson won 100-yard dash in :10.1 in Lincoln’s dual track meet with Hoover on March 21, 1957. Others (from left) are Hoover’s Bill Stephenson and Arnold Tripp, Lincoln’s Russ Boehmke, Hoover’s Larry Fischer, and Lincoln’s Bill McCready.

Grayson then moved onto to the University of Oregon, competed in football and track, and was co-captain of the Ducks’ 1960 football squad.


Waibel was a passing quarterback for the 1943 Oceanside Pirates, who were unbeaten with a 6-0 record in the World War II-shortened Southern Prep League campaign.

Waibel was head coach at Fallbrook from 1959-64.

The often undermanned Warriors did not join the newly formed San Diego Section in 1960 and competed in the Riverside County De Anza League, winning the league title and posting as 6-3 record.


The most-valuable player in the 1955 Lions Club Baseball Tournament was lefthanded pitcher Vince Kilpela of the emerging Lincoln High program.

Kilpela signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and led the Sooner State League with 272 strikeouts in 1956.

Kilpela posted a 14-9 record for Ardmore, Oklahoma, pitching a whopping 231 innings and completing 25 starting assignments.

He also pitched at Fresno, Winston-Salem, and Billings, but a sore arm ended Kilpela’s career in 1957.




1967-68: Mount Miguel on Mountain Top

Rick : August 2, 2017 9:34 am : Football

They were cast in the 6-foot, 11-inch shadow of Bill Walton and Helix’ 33-0 team of 1969-70.

History has overlooked the Mount Miguel clubs that dominated the Grossmont League and San Diego Section in the late 1960s.

The Matadors were 25-6 in 1966-67 and 32-0 this season.

But coach Dick Ridgway’s squad did not embrace an intersectional schedule.

The Matadors won a couple December tournaments of local import and ran roughshod over area teams, eight times scoring more than 100 points.

Walton and Helix “went national”.

The Highlanders dominated the prestigious Covina Tournament, winning by 42 points in the finals against Pasadena and, in an earlier round, routing eventual Southern Section champion Long Beach Millikan by 24 points.

Walton was featured in Faces in the Crowd, a weekly feature of Sports Illustrated.

Ridgway, who played for coach John Wooden at UCLA in the early ‘fifties, employed a pressing zone defense that Wooden’s teams had perfected to domination on the collegiate level.

When not defending, Mount Miguel’s Ken Greenman, splitting Madison’s Tim Amrine (10) and Phil Edwards (44) for basket in 67-44 playoffs win, also was offensive threat, averaging 18.5 points a game,

Junior varsity graduate Ken Barstow, a 6-foot, 7-inch center, joined 6-5 forward Mike Ela and two split-second guards, Blake Mathews, and Ken Greenman, who formed the offensive and defensive attack along with forward Dave Lower.

Bill Center of The San Diego Union covered the Matadors and Walton’s Helix squads.

Which was better?

”Very close,” said Center.  “Walton was such a great athlete that I think Helix would win.”

But Center reserved a special place in his hoops hierarchy for the Spring Valley entry.

“Mount Miguel played so well together,” said Center. “It was the most fun team to watch that I covered. It was so unselfish and Mathews and Greenman were the perfect players to run his (Ridgway’s) press.”

The Matadors outscored their 32 opponents by an average score of 85.1-46.6 and set a County single-game scoring record in a 121-64 victory over Santana.  They beat Point Loma, 118-54, and scored 92 points in the last three quarters in a 111-62 win over El Cajon Valley.

Ela scored 685 points and averaged 21.4.  Greenman scored 594 and averaged 18.5.  Mathews scored 467 and averaged 14.6.

Helix, a year away from beginning its great run, was 0-4 against its neighboring rival.  The Matadors prevailed, 80-62, 86-57, and 67-56 in the regular season, and 69-55 in the CIF finals.

Oceanside got closer than anyone, bowing, 58-47, in the playoff quarterfinals after trailing, 31-28, at the half.  The Pirates, led by big Jim McCargo, Steve Waddell, and Willie Buchanon, had won 14 straight.


Point Loma coach Don Buechler tossed cold water on the idea that Mount Miguel could beat the best team in the Southern Section.

Buechler would know.  His team dropped a 118-54 decision to the Matadors and also played a powerful Northern squad.

Point Loma scheduled an unusual, late-season, nonleague home game against the 27-0 Compton Tarbabes, who would conclude a 32-0 season with the Southern Section championship a couple weeks later.

Compton easily raced past the 14-11 Pointers, 106-43, and Buechler was asked to compare the Matadors and the Northern powerhouse.

“They’re the best team I’ve seen in many a season,” Buechler said of Compton. “There is no team in our area that can match them man-for-man, rebounding, shooting, and individual defense.

“Everyone takes turns killing you.”



Mount Miguel won the Unlimited Division, 83-50, over Eastern League power Morse.  The Matadors topped Granite Hills in an earlier game, 103-38, but fell short of the record 104 by Newhall Hart against Oceanside in 1954.

Castle Park claimed the Limited Division championship, 63-56, over Chula Vista and Vista topped Fallbrook, 55-54, in overtime to win the newly created Classified Division.


Top seed Mount Miguel defeated No. 2 Lincoln, another Eastern League big shot, 69-52, after scoring 107 in one tournament game and 118 in another.


Chula Vista, which had been playing in this post-December event almost from the time the school opened in 1947, swept to four straight victories including a 73-56 decision over Santa Clarita Simi Valley in the championship game.


A free throw with 1:30 remaining in the game was what separated Long Beach Poly from San Diego in the Jackrabbits’ 63-62 championship game victory. Cavers Steve Clifford and Orie McLemore were all-tournament.


San Dieguito won its own tournament, 48-47, over Coronado.  The Mustangs posted a 4-0 record in the round-robin event, followed by Coronado (3-1), San Marcos (2-2), Poway (1-3), and Bonita Vista (0-4).

Madison’s Ron Dahms (50) is closest but Kearny’s Lee Tyler (15) gives chase. Komets’ Bruce Williams (left) and Warhawks’ Phil Edwards (44) are near, yet far.


Six-foot, 10 1/2-inch Ron Dahms scored 25 points to lead Madison to a 62-47 win over Orange Glen, which was making its second straight appearance in the finals.

Several other San Diego teams were involved.  Brawley edged Crawford, 56-55, for third place, the Colts missing Rodney Boone, who sustained a back injury the day before.

El Centro Central topped Morse, playing without Monroe Nash, home in bed with the flu, 50-46, for fifth place.  La Jolla defeated Holtville, 54-43, for the consolation title.


Despite protests from Metropolitan League coaches that their top teams, Chula Vista, Castle Park, and Hilltop, were dissed in the 16-team pairings, the postseason playoff committee approved its original seedings.

No. 1 Mount Miguel ousted 24-5 Castle Park, 64-44, in the first round and 17-8 University upset 26-3 Chula Vista, 52-50.  Hilltop upheld South Bay pride by bouncing 15-10 Clairemont, 69-51.

Hilltop (23-9) reached the semifinals before bowing to 21-10 Helix, 69-57.  Mount Miguel thumped Madison, 67-46.

The 27-5 Warhawks defeated Hilltop, 73-54, for third place.

Steve Bajo scored 29 points as Marian (21-6) was a 91-44 winner over 11-5 La Jolla Country Day in the Class A final.

Marian’s Steve Bajo is surrounded by coaches George Ziegenfuss (San Diego State), Phil Woolpert (University of San Diego), and Bob Kloppenburg (Cal Western) at Union-Tribune luncheon. Bajo opted for USD.


Santana defeated El Cajon Valley, 90-76, by converting 50 of 70 fouls shots.

Game officials called 72 infractions, an average of more than two a minute, including 45 against the Braves.

Seven El Cajon Valley players and three Sultans were whistled to the bench with five personals each.

The Braves converted 22 of 36 free throw attempts and would have won, 54-40, if only field goals counted.


Bizarre finish in a Western League game between University and Clairemont.

The score was tied at 62 with the Chiefs in possession when the Dons’ Kevin Madden was called for a personal foul with four seconds remaining.

Madden complained, apparently too loudly, and was additionally assessed a technical.

Clairemont’s Pat Casey missed the first free-throw in the one-and-one for the personal.

But Clairemont remained in possession as the Chiefs still had a free throw coming for the technical.

Chiefs coach Russ Cravens opted for his best player and scorer, Frank Petersen, to attempt the T free throw.

Petersen found the bottom of the net, giving Clairemont a 63-62 lead.

Four seconds still remained and the Chiefs retained possession at midcourt.

Game over?

Clairemont stunningly was called for a rules violation with one second remaining.

The Chiefs, according to student correspondent Homer Williams, were called for “a violation of the rule which requires the team ahead move the ball into an attacking area.”

Clairemont coach Cravens was outraged, lashing out at the official, who  promptly slapped Cravens with a technical.

All’s well that ended well.  University’s Dennis Kramer, who was 4 for 4 from the foul line, missed the technical freebie.


It’s a trite term overused in the modern game, but scoring was what San Diego preps did best this season.

Ten players averaged at least 20 points a game and 10 teams scored at least 63.3 points a game.  Figures unheard of as recently as 10 years before.

Monroe Nash of Morse had highest average, 24.3 points a game,

Madison’s Ron Dahms scored 706 points, third to the 737 that Crawford’s Larry Blum scored in 1962-63 and to the 736 by St. Augustine’s Tom Shaules in 1957-58.

Morse’s Monroe Nash won the scoring championship with a 24.3 average, with 608 points in 25 games.  Dahms averaged 22.06 and was edged by sophomore Paul Halupa of Bonita Vista, who scored 574 points in 26 games for an average of 22.08.

Halupa’s total represented the most ever by a 10th grade player.


Hoover’s John Havens broke two school records.

Havens’ 38 points in a 91-69 win over Granite Hills in consolation play of the Kiwanis Tournament bettered the 36 by Dick Barnes in 1944-45.

Havens, who averaged 18.4 points as the Cardinals struggled to a 9-17 record, had a season total of 478, bettering the 446 by Norris Greenwood in 1957-58.


San Diego coach Bill Standly did not take kindly to what he considered editorial impudence by the staff of The Russ, as noted by Don King in Caver Conquest.

Standly was not amused after reading a headline in the school newspaper that described a “Bush Sports Calendar.”

James (Bouncy) Moore averaged 14.2 but was better known in track and field, third in state long jump at 24 feet, 4 inches, in 1968 and national collegiate champion at University of Oregon in 1970. He had all-time best of 26-11 3/4.

After all, the coach had put together a strong nonleague and intersectional schedule as his team was defending its 1966-67 San Diego Section championship.

Standly was mollified somewhat when a Russ editor apologized and explained that the headline was a typographical error and should have read “Busy Sports Calendar.”


Helix outscored Hilltop, 24-12, in nine minutes of the second and third quarters in their 69-57, CIF semifinal playoff victory before 3,573 persons at Peterson Gym, “with sophomore center Bill Walton and forward Paul Drozd leading the way.”

Writer Bill Center elaborated:

“Walton, a spindly, 6-6 center who was brought up from the junior varsity for the playoffs, took charge around the basket, batting down two shots and grabbing three defensive rebounds, which set up Highlander scores.”

Walton also scored eight points in this first, brief appearance on the big stage, which he would command for the next several years, at Helix, UCLA, and in the NBA.


–Mar Vista led visiting Coronado, 43-22, at halftime and lost, 65-64, as the Islanders took their only lead in the game on Jim Haught’s looper with 21 seconds remaining.

–Lincoln’s Jerry Powell scored 20 points, including 10 in a row and 12 in the final seven minutes, as the Hornets topped Crawford, 64-56.

Jerry Powell, laying up against Crawford, was Lincoln standout.

–St. Augustine, 2-12, beat 12-5 Lincoln, 69-66.  Hoover, 6-12, beat 14-6 Morse, 51-48.  Crawford, 8-12, defeated 15-5 Lincoln, 56-53.

–Monroe Nash, despite 4 personal fouls, scored 19 points in the final 11 minutes as Morse beat San Diego, 72-70, in two overtimes.

–Madison jumped to 34-16 lead over Point Loma, but then was outscored, 50-32, and the teams deadlocked at 66, forcing overtime, which Madison dominated and won, 70-67.

–James (Bouncy) Moore broke free for a layup with two seconds to go in the second overtime as San Diego defeated Crawford, 75-73, after the teams deadlocked at 62 in regulation play and 66 in the first overtime.

–Helix trailed Monte Vista, 29-12, and then led, 56-39, before finally moving past Monte Vista, 68-65.  Bob Kellison and Bill’s brother, Bruce Walton, led the Scots with 13 points each.

Hilltop’s John Tschogl (left) and Chula Vista’s Bob Olson led their teams to a combined 49 wins and school scoring records.


Although eliminated in the playoffs’ first round, it was a banner year for the Chula Vista Spartans, who won their third Metropolitan League championship in five seasons under coach Larry Armbrust and tied the school record for most wins…Bob Olson scored 35 points in a 77-59 win over Coronado and broke the school record of 33 set by Koichi Yamamoto in 1956-57 and equaled by Eric Mortenson in ’65-’66…Clairemont’s Frank Petersen was the season’s single-game scoring leader with 48 points in an 85-51 win over first-year Bonita Vista…the 21st annual December Kiwanis Tournament expanded to three divisions…there now were 16 Unlimited entries, 16 Limited, and 8 Classified…the Oscar Foster era had ended at San Diego, but the Cavers still posted a 20-8 record with one returning starter (Orie McLemore) and four junior varsity graduates…Hilltop joined Mount Miguel in 100-point club with a 104-46 win over Bonita Vista as forward John Tschogl set a school record with 41 points…Tschogl played at the University of California at Santa Barbara and for two seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Philadelphia 76ers…3,075 persons attended the Saturday night playoff finals at Peterson Gym, bringing two-night attendance to almost 7,000….


2017: La Jolla Vikings Great Dan Berry

Rick : January 27, 2017 12:47 pm : Football

Dan Berry passed recently at age 72, leaving a historic legacy at La Jolla High and of significant achievements at San Diego City College and the University of California at Berkeley.

When La Jolla met San Diego High at  Scripps Field in 1961, the Vikings had not beaten the Cavemen since 1951 and were reeling from 57-0 and 59-0 knockouts in the two most recent meetings.

Berry, an all-San Diego Section first-team selection,  rushed for 153 yards in 20 carries, scored a touchdown and passed for two, and charged a three-touchdown, fourth-quarter rally as the Vikings, trailing, 19-7, defeated the Cavers, 27-19.

Lefty Berry ran, passed, and drove La Jolla to big win and niche among all-time Vikings.

The seaside team’s victory should have created some sports world buzz, but the game was played on Thursday night, a day earlier than usual.

Friday night was when the media spotlight was on the high schools.

The Evening Tribune did not send a reporter to the game and The San Diego Union‘s coverage of the contest was consigned to back pages of the sports section.

La Jollans were outraged.

Many of the  beach community’s residents flooded the nearby office of publisher James Copley with telephone calls expressing anger that Copley’s newspapers had given their team short shrift.

Copley got the message.

An order soon came down from the fourth floor at the Union-Tribune building on Second Avenue in downtown San Diego.

Henceforth the Tribune would carry a full page of prep photo coverage plus a full page of stories and reports each Saturday on games  throughout the County.


Dan Berry and the Vikings had a lot to do with that emphasis on the exploits of the area’s prepsters.

Berry later led San Diego City College to a best-ever 9-1 record and come-from-behind, 28-24 victory over Orange Coast College in the 1964 San Bernardino Elks Bowl.

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pounder was described by Orange Coast coach Dick Tucker as “the best junior college player in Southern California.”


Berry went on to letter at quarterback and running back for two seasons at Berkeley, and was a fifth round draft selection of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles in 1967.  His career was short-circuited by injuries.

Berry’s wife, Kathy, said that on Feb. 18 a celebration of Dan’s life will be held at the family residence.

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36 Responses to Football Blog

  1. John Carter says:

    I just read about this website from this morning’s paper in Nick’s column, what a great find! I played on Kearny’s 1973 undefeated CIF Champioship team, and our 1973-74 basketball team was undefeated and CIF champions as well. I’ve always wondered if there has ever been a year where both football and basketball teams were undefeated and champions in San Diego County history? Thank you for all your work with high school sports history over the years!

    • Rick says:

      I thanked Nick. And I thank you. I don’t think there have been undefeated football and basketball teams at the same school.
      It’s just too tough a double. Undefeated football teams are more common. I’ll do some research.

  2. Buzz Ponce says:

    Interesting overview on St. Augustine for this upcoming season. Frank Buncom IV, however, is a cornerback, not a linebacker. His grandfather, as I know you are aware, was the original number 55 for the San Diego Chargers and is in the team’s Hall of Fame. Very interestingly, the other iconic number 55 for the Chargers — Junior Seau — has a nephew on St. Augustine’s team that also plays linebacker. Quinn Seau and Buncom IV have roots that parallel the greats in Chargers history. You can read a chapter on Buncom IV and Quinn Seau’s similarities in my book, “Finding Frank: Full Circle in a Life Cut Short.”

    • Rick says:

      I missed on Buncom IV’s position, but I don’t think he’s a cornerback. He’s more of a “monster” in that he’s all over the field, almost a strong safety. I’ve heard of your book. I also interviewed Frank Buncom, Jr., after Chargers games when I was a sports writer at the Evening Tribune. Nice man. Tragic ending.

  3. holly bryant says:

    1978 — Dan Henson was the coach at Christian
    2007 — Grossmont was 2-1 for 2nd place (West Hills was 3-0)

    • Rick says:

      Thank you for the info on Christian’s coach in 1978.. I could not find coaching listings for some schools in late seventies, as the CIF San Diego office does not have directories for those years. I also corrected the Grossmont-West Hills standings. For some reason the 5 teams in the Grossmont North played only three league games instead of four, so there’s no round-robin format.

  4. Absolutely awesome site. I just discovered it by accident right now. Love it. I am 2nd generation born, raised, played and coached in the South Bay of San Diego. I have always loved the CIF-SDS history. I’ll be spending a lot of time (I already have spent a lot) surfing this site.
    Thank you,

    Justin J. Schaeffer
    Resource Teacher
    Head Football Coach
    Murrieta Mesa High School
    (951) 677-0568 ext. 6421

    GO RAMS!!!!!
    Character, integrity and hard work breed opportunity.
    see us at

    • Rick says:

      Thanks for the very kind words, coach, and for subscribing. We have an article going today on three San Diego Section championship games yesterday.

  5. Bob Dexter says:

    I thought it might have been a misprint. Thanks, Rick for checking -still an impressive offensive show by La Jolla.

    • Rick says:

      Impressive indeed, Bob. The 63 points is a La Jolla record for one game, surpassing a romp in which it whacked Kearny, 61-20, in 2002. Last week’s win also ties a 57-0 rout of Coronado in 1990 for largest point differential. Adding to that, back in the heyday of Dan Berry and Butch Taylor the Vikings beat San Dieguito, 57-7 in 1961,. Those are the three highest scores in school history. La Jolla has been punishing U. City for years, including 56-7 in 2012.

  6. Bob Dexter says:

    I saw a score from last Friday. There were no details just the line score. At the end of 3 quarters La Jolla and University City were tied 0-0. The final was La Jolla 63, University City 6. High school quarters I believe are 12 minutes. How did La Jolla score 9 touchdowns in 12 minutes? (9 one play drives?) Does anyone have details on this game?

    • Rick says:

      I wondered about that, too, but a check with Jesse Kearney at UT-San Diego revealed that the actual score by quarters was La Jolla, 19-20-10-14–63 and U. City, 6-0-0-0–6. Sixty-three points in one quarter? That’s 9 touchdowns and 9 PAT attempts and 3 PAT in 12 minutes I suppose anything’s possible. Perhaps it’s happened in 8-man or 6-man. Thanks for writing, Bob.

  7. Jasen Boyens says:

    Orange Glen has gone the way of Sweetwater, Morse, Lincoln; victims of changing demographics over time. For OG it all started to fall apart when Valley Center HS opened, and the Patriots lost all those corn-fed farm boys! So many good players came out of VC, as evidenced by Rob Gilster’s sustained success with the Jaguars. Orange Glen was also victimized by the Escondido School District, whose board members were largely Escondido HS alums – implementation of a free-for-all transfer policy within the district, intended to bolster the Cougars’ fortunes. Despite the courageous Early family’s laudable decision to keep Andy and Austin home at OG, in hopes of bolstering Patriot fortunes, the football program remains decrepit. Dick Disney was a great man whose impact on many lives, including my own, continues through the decades.

    • Rick says:

      Jasen, very interesting comments. You could add several other city schools to that mix. Orange Glen did have it going. I think there have been 3 or 4 NFL players, Salisbury, Lenny McGill, I think, and maybe a couple others.

  8. BoyensJC says:


    Thought you might find this photo [ed: of the OG QB club] interesting;

    We had some pretty good quarterbacks come through Orange Glen for a spell there in the late 70’s through the early 1990’s. Lead by Salisbury, of course, but Doug Disney (and his older brother, Rick), Jon Mitchell, and Cree Morris were all San Diego CIF.

    • Rick says:

      What’s happened with Orange Glen football? Patriots had it going back then. I remember Dick Dinesy as an all-star at Point Loma, then later as an assistant for Chick Embrey at Escondido before he opened O.G. Last I heard Sean Salkisbury was in radio in Chicago. Thanks for writing.

      • Buzz Ponce says:

        Dick Disney also was the first varsity football coach at San Marcos High School when it opened in 1961, following his stint at Escondido HS with Chick Embrey. He was at San Marcos (which was then in the Escondido Union HS District) until Orange Glen launched in 1962-63. He was an incredible coach, and an incredible person. After his retirement at OG, he was elected to the Escondido Union HS District Board of Trustees where he served until his death in 1997.
        RIP, Coach Disney.

      • Rick says:

        I met Disney when he assisted Chick with the 1960 team that won the first San Diego section championship. I always wondered how he got to Escondido, considering he was a big name in high school in the city at Point Loma. thanks for writing, Buzz.

  9. Bob Dexter says:

    Rick, Thank you for the kind comments. Coach Leslie was definitely the right man to get our program going. That 1971 season was a lot of fun!

  10. Bob Dexter says:


    Regarding your article on the best defenses in history, the 1971 Patrick Henry Patriots went 11-1 outscoring the opposition 267-53 an average of 4.4 points. We had 5 shutouts and never allowed more than 8 points in any one game. We lost to Grossmont 8-7 in the championship game but it was a great season.

    I became aware of your great website from Henrik.

    • Rick says:

      Bob: The writer posed a question involving only “championship” teams. I researched from that angle but should have taken it further and included all teams. A one-point loss to Grossmont doesn’t dim the luster of that 1971 Patrick Henry club. Coach Russ Leslie got the new school up and running very quickly. The Patriots reached the San Diego Section finals in their third varsity season and were in the finals three times from 1971-74.

  11. malcolm pusey says:

    Great info. But I would like read tidbits for every season. How about a list of the greatest players (by position), teams and coaches of all time?
    I am just trying to help.

    • Rick says:

      Malcolm, great idea. I have been thinking somewhat along those lines. I guess I would start with Charlie Powell at one of the ends although he played fullback one year at San Diego High. Jack Mashin and Duane Maley would be near the top of my coaches’ list, but I’m first concentrating on the yearly reviews and the yearly scoring leaders. Are you related to Duane Pusey, 13-foot pole vaulter at Grossmont in 1949?

  12. Rick says:

    Mark: I’m not familiar with Jimmy Anderson. Ernie Zampese’s son, Ken, is on the Bengals staff and graduated from University High. I think Dante Scarnecchia played at Cal Western, later USIU.
    I see Lenny arevalo at breakfast every Thursday, so tell me his story and I’ll surprise him. Were you with Shacklett and Mendoza at Morse?

    • Mark Monroe says:

      Len’s story is set in 1973 the first year Jimmy Anderson was hired to teach at Morse and coach the defensive line for Shack. While the two of them were out for a jog around the neighborhood Jim asked Len “where do you see yourself in 10 years” Len replied “here @ Morse, I like what I am doing, why where are you gonna be?” Jim says ” I am going to be coaching in the NFL” and he still is as one of the longest tenured assistant coaches in the NFL. Coach Anderson is the innovative mind behind the warm up Morse would do before and after games known as “Tiger Jays” A tradition that has lasted from 1974 to 2011. Len can tell you the story about Dante. Bob, Len and I recently had lunch with Coach Anderson and Len told that story. Yes I had the pleasure of working with Coach Shack, Mendoza and Arevalo at Morse for 24 years. It was kind of weird working there since I graduated in 1971 and knew them as my idols. Thanks for the reply, Coach Monroe.

  13. Mark Monroe says:

    Wow great job! I worked at Morse for 24 years and have a story Len Arevalo likes to tell about Cincinnati running back coach Jimmy Anderson and New England line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Interested?

  14. Todd Tobias says:

    Great stuff, Rick! I will be reading daily. I bet I’ll find some good crossover stuff for potential AFL stories!

  15. John Walker says:

    Will you be adding a section for All-CIF and All-League players. The reason I’m asking is because I was a 2nd team All Eastern League linebacker for Patrick Henry in 1984 and I lost the newspaper clipping.

    • Rick says:

      John: I’m trying to get these narratives written for each year, plus finding scoring leaders for every year. In time I hope to get to the “all” teams. Thanks for writing.

  16. Albert Oliver says:

    Hi Rick. I played in the 1961 Lincoln/ Saints game losing 13 to 6 to Lincoln.
    Your parents Doug & Jane knew mine Al & Virginia Oliver ( Both Dads in the fishing industry).
    Just wanted to say hi.
    Still live in San Diego..( El Cajon).
    Al Oliver…12/07/2012

    • Rick says:

      Al: Good to hear from you. I see Ron Cota and John Nettles often. I think that was the game in which John made a one-handed catch. Willie Shaw and Vernus Ragsdale combined for about 225 yards rushing in that game.

  17. Richard Houk says:

    Just discovered your wonderful site (thanks to Don Norcross). It is wonderful to see a comprehensive listing of San Diego County’s proud history. I was a part of the 1965 San Dieguito Mustangs and noticed that you may have the wrong score entered for the San Dieguito/Poway game. I believe San Dieguito won, 19-14. It is entered correctly on San Dieguito’s record but not Poway’s. Thank you for putting all of this together!

    • Rick says:

      Richard: The score has been corrected. Game played Sept. 24, 1965. I’ll come up with the scoring summary and send. Thanks for commenting.

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